Dr. Thanh Nguyen

Optometrist, Gulfcoast Eye Care

Dr. Thanh Nguyen is an optometrist at Gulfcoast Eye Care, mental health advocate, former UWF student ambassador and founder of Light Up the Night, an annual event at Pensacola Little Theatre that raises money for suicide prevention.

UWF prepared me for my future career because of the relationship I had with my professors. If I had concerns, they were always a quick office visit away and that was invaluable to me.

Why does the Light Up the Night cause hold such a special place in your heart?

When I came back to Pensacola in 2015, I met up with college friends and we talked about how we could impact Pensacola. We lost a dear friend to suicide and it really left an imprint on our lives, so we decided to make something positive out of it. I founded the event that year, and with the help of generous local sponsors, we were able to turn an idea into reality in less than six months.

What is one of the most rewarding aspects of what you do as an optometrist?

My interaction with my patients is the best part of my job. Vision is inherently a gift that you rarely have to work for, so when you lose any aspect of your vision you feel lost. My job is to help you visually find your way, and that is my passion.

Any thoughts to share on the recent expansion at UWF?

With the new infrastructure as well as the addition of the football team, the University is really making a name for itself. UWF is essentially a microcosm of Pensacola, having all the amenities of a bigger entity without losing the interpersonal relationships that come with a smaller town.